Africa’s Youth Boom in Internet Access is driving YouTube use across the continent

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Balancing Act recently reviewed the increase in the number of internet (broadband internet included) users between 2010 and 2012 by country and realised that traffic has on average tripled up. Recent local surveys reveal that African youth is hungry for internet broadband connectivity. As in the rest of the World, one of the most popular websites in each African country is YouTube.

This is a sign that video on demand (VoD) is picking up accross Africa, joining the global trend. Sylvain Beletre, analyst at Balancing Act talked to Julie Taylor, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google Sub-Saharan Africa talked abut about year-on-year growth for YouTube in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2012, YouTube views in South Africa increased by 80%, whilst the number of video uploads grew by 30%, according to Jared Molko, YouTube Partnership Manager at Google South Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa, YouTube views rose by 90% and video uploads grew by 40% from the previous year, with South Africa leading the region with the most playbacks: “From discovering global pop sensations, to reinventing the classroom, the YouTube community is transforming entertainment and shaping the culture of our times. It’s great to see South Africans playing an active role in this.” comments Jared.

The site’s new design underscores its focus on channels, which has led to an increase in engagement on YouTube. “The creators of these YouTube channels are succeeding now more than ever before,” says Luke Mckend, Google SA Country Manager. “Revenue from the YouTube Partnership Programme, where partners get a portion of the ad revenue generated on their sites, has doubled globally for the fourth consecutive year, and thousands of these partners are receiving up to six figures annually - in dollars. In South Africa, our partners are earning 60% more than a year ago, which shows the potential of YouTube as a business tool.”

Adds Luke: “The top 100 global advertisers on YouTube spent over 50% more on the platform in 2012 than in the previous year. YouTube has the power to directly target customers, a factor that is invaluable to any organisation. In addition, on average, spending on YouTube was approximately 2.4 times more efficient than the equivalent television spend.”

Web fitness celeb, Peter Cilliers (creator of the channel, SixPackFactory), took part in a panel discussion about YouTube, along with the other stars. Peter, who has been a YouTube partner since 2010, earns over R50, 000 a month by uploading one exercise video a week to his channel - this excludes the revenue made from sales of his own products through the channel: “YouTube has evolved into so much more than a site to watch entertaining videos. It has become a means for many individuals to earn respect, success, acknowledgement and revenue for what they have to offer any audience or customer.” Six Pack Factory has just surpassed 1 million views per month and has over 135,000 subscribers.

Meanwhile, teen sensation Caspar Lee has over 570,000 subscribers, more than BBC Worldwide (538,000 subscribers) and already a quarter of the number of Top Gear (1.9m subscribers). At the age of 18, he is already fully financially independent - all from his diary entries on YouTube.

Other YouTube stars who attended the event included wildlife enthusiast Rob the Ranger; South African acapella group, The Soil; and energy expert, Martin Lorton at Solar Power and Electronic Measurement. Caspar Lee and Martin Lorton joined the Montecasino event via Google+ Hangout from London and Cape Town respectively.

YouTube metrics at a glance:

South Africa in 2012

YouTube visits in South Africa grew by 80%
YouTube uploads in South Africa grew by 30%
Revenue given back to South African partners increased by 60% year on year

Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012:

Sub-Saharan Africa video uploads have increased 40% year on year,with SA receiving the most playbacks in the region
Aggregate views for the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 90%


4 billion hours of video watched a month in 2012
75% of ads that appear in videos are now skippable
1 out 4 YouTube views in the world come from mobile device
Daily account sign-ups have doubled year on year
The number of people subscribing to channels has more than doubled year on year
On YouTube , our top 100 global advertisers spent over 50% more in 2012 than they did in 2011
YouTube partner revenue doubled for the fourth consecutive year
Thousands of channels are now making six figures annually

Recent YouTube Successes in South Africa

Caspar Lee

Caspar Lee, “that South African teenager who sometimes talks to a camera”, has found success through uploading short videos about his everyday life to his YouTube channel, Dicasp watch here. This London born teenager has made sharing his life on camera his full-time job and hobby, creating revenue through his channel ,which enables him to be financially independent at the age of just 18.

Caspar originally attracted a following by sharing his videos on forums and with friends on Facebook. After gaining support, he started collaborating with other YouTubers, which exposed his videos to a larger following, resulting in over 500,000 subscribers seen today on his channel and over 29 million views!

Before making YouTube videos, Caspar spent most of his time at school, on the sports field, or playing computer games. But now, his life has changed dramatically since he started creating videos to distract him from his homework - YouTube has taken over his life. Each week Caspar uploads 3-5 minute videos about anything going on in his life, similar to a personal video blog - just with YouTube, he is able to reach a much larger audience.

Caspar is aware that his fans are what keeps his channel alive, and interacts with them on a daily basis through YouTube, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. This tech enthusiast also hosts a live webcam show each week, which he hopes will eventually open the door to becoming a talk show host in the future.

Martin Lorton (MJLorton)

After being made redundant as an IT consultant, Martin Lorton entered into a new business platform where he was able to share his passion, do something he enjoys, be his own boss, and earn an income to sustain him. Martin created a YouTube channel called Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment see here. Here, he uploads videos that deal with topics around solar energy and equipment used in the field, including reviews, tests, experiments and his very popular tutorial footage.

Martin monetised his YouTube channel in June 2011, earning only $16 in the first month. However, this amount grew roughly 20-30% month on month since then, resulting in a total earning of R12,200 in December 2012. Since then, his channel has grown in popularity through direct and indirect viewing, resulting in expected earnings of between R32,000 and R35,000 for February.

Unique content, focused keywords and helpful insights are what Martin believes grows his viewership and subscriptions. Martin relies on Google to ensure his content is discoverable to potential viewers, whether it be linked directly to his YouTube site, or through his website.

In the future, Martin hopes to grow his successful YouTube channel, and increase the popularity of his recently created second channel. “The future looks very good when partnered with YouTube,” says Lorton.

Rob Vamplew (Rob the Ranger)

Having relocated from England to South Africa in 1997, Rob Vamplew (also known as “Rob the Ranger”), has a passion for African wildlife and all that nature has to offer. This passion was the driver of his YouTube channel, iDube Rob the Ranger click here, where Rob uploads wildlife footage for his viewers to enjoy.

In his everyday work, Rob is exposed to the most amazing sights and actions there are to see in the South African wild. He realised that many people are not exposed to the type of footage he was able to capture, and so began uploading the videos to YouTube, and almost instantly received interest.

Rob is also part of the YouTube Partnership Programme and has received positive results since monetising the channel. Since December 2012, his earnings from the YouTube site have almost doubled.

Rob enjoys interacting with his fans through different social media sites; however his use of YouTube has definitely received the most interest.

This platform allows him to not only engage with others who share his passion, but also to promote what he truly believes in – the wonder of the South African environment and wildlife. And what’s more, he gets to have fun while doing it!

Peter Cillier(moricestreet909)

Peter started his YouTube channel, “Six Pack Factory click here” in 2006 as a way to motivate himself during a weight loss challenge by documenting the day-to-day transformation of his body.This channel has now transformed into a platform that helps viewers lose weight and shows them how to train in the comfort of their own homes, without expensive gym equipment. Peter uploads two fitness videos to his YouTube site a week.

Six Pack Factory was included in the YouTube Partnership Programme at its start in 2010. Since then, the channel has received increasing interest. The success of the channel is seen in its over 68 million views since its launch, and over 135 000 subscribers, with approximately 250 subscribers joining each day. Peter receives more than R50 000 as revenue from this channel a month, all generated organically without additional paid advertising on the site.

Peter is able to interact with his fans and customers through his YouTube site, website, and social media. Dedicated to helping all his viewers get the results they desire, Peter is constantly reviewing new ideas and ways to engage with his following to ensure they are always motivated and ready to leap into action.

To find out more about YouTube and becoming a YouTube Partner go here.

Above: Sylvain Beletre, analyst at Balancing Act.


Other new video clip briefings for you this week:

South African TV producer Asi Mathaba on his next TV series, a political thriller called A Luta

Successful South African films:
Helen Kuun, Indigenous Media Distribution on her 2 hits of 2012 & 3 promising new releases in 2013

Impact of online viewing on cinema-going:
Helen Kuun on putting films on South Africa's iTunes and its impact on cinema-going

The Box Office and Critical Success of Otelo Burning:
Sara Blecher on how Otelo Burning came to be made and its reception in South Africa and elsewhere

Sara Blecher’s new film project:
Sara Blecher on her new film about a women entrepreneur in Joburg's African district, Yeoville

South African horror film from the townships:

Pascal Schmitz on South African horror film Blood Tokoloshe

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